MSPs Can Ease SMB Training Burden

It's no big secret that the learning curve in corporate America has been growing exponentially steeper for the past several years. What seems to be light-speed changes in technology, business process, the national and global economy, and the general climate in which companies must compete can leave even major corporations with fully staffed training departments coming up short of breath. Now imagine how your SMB customers feel.

To remain competitive with the "big boys," SMBs must make sure their employees must master the same constantly evolving stream of information, but with far fewer resources at their disposal. And for any MSPs or SMBs who doubt the importance of training, a recent study from Aberdeen Group and SkillSoft has some eye-opening data.

The study analyzed 438 organizations in May and June 2011, examining strategies, tools and processes designed to improve engagement and performance. Key findings include that 43% of best-in-class companies (those in the top 20% of aggregate industry performance) have a formal engagement strategy, while just 14% of laggards (those in the bottom 30% of aggregate industry performance) do.

Other data findings showing how much more frequently top performers engage in formal training include that best-in-class companies are 81% more likely to provide managers with training and tools on strategies for engaging employees and 24% more likely to train managers and supervisors to deliver effective performance reviews than all other companies.

Training Goes Beyond IT

The report also finds that key management skills taught include leadership, communication, critical thinking, and people skills. So it's not just training on the latest and greatest operating system upgrade which is needed, but training on changes in the entire American business ecosystem.

So how can MSPs assist SMBs with the potentially crushing burden of keeping their employees up to date on how to effectively practice business in the 21st century? Since most SMBs cannot afford a training staff or even track everything they should be training their employees on, MSPs can play a vital role by hosting a wide variety of solutions which perform tasks such as e-learning, compliance automation, business and IT education, and leadership development.

Some solutions offer access to virtual instructors and mentors, while others provide up-to-date digitized coursework, textbooks and research. MSPs can tailor training offerings to the needs and learning styles of individual clients.

SkillSoft is a supplier of SaaS training technologies and services to SMBs, so naturally the survey results may have a certain bias. However, the need for training is unquestionably there, so if MSPs don't fill it, somebody else will.
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